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Last update: december 2016

IV. Content

The work plan of the Study Group will be divided into sub-groups, the reference themes of which are outlined below: 


Theme 1 – The key conditions which have produced changes in the dimensions and characteristics of mobility; a new dialectic between the global and the local.

   Analysis of changes in the production system, in the nature of work, in the characteristics of free time and recreational activities, in income flows both in working and pensionable age, in the construction of culture and cultural heritage, in demographic structures, in the flow of capital, in local development strategies and in the organisation of large scale events taking into account the flow of mobility.

   With regard to the relationship between the developed countries and the developing ones, analysis of the ways in which migrants and workers from the developing world are brought into the labour markets of cities of the developed world through the increasing reliance of major cities on cheap, flexible and low skill service sector personnel.

   Identification of the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of consumption driven mobility with respect to the means adopted by local bodies to ease the new restructuring processes and to contribute in economic, social and environmental terms to a new development of urban and rural areas. Analysis of globalisation processes and of urban competitiveness through the examination of investments in mega-infrastructure, in the promotion of large scale commercial and cultural projects and in urban marketing strategies. 


Theme 2 – Scale and defining characteristics of the new forms of mobility.

   Identification of new mobility typologies. The scale and the impact of these new forms of mobility are likely to increase in future, and so their contribution to the redrawing of the map of world geography will intensify. The themes that this section will examine are as follows:

a. Globalisation of the phenomena of mobility and migration. Since an increasing number of countries are affected by these phenomena, the movements will become more characterised by a wide spectrum of economic, social and cultural factors. Analysis of this phenomenon in the areas of North-South contact; as for example Mediterranean, Caribbean, Pacific.

b. The acceleration of human mobility in relation to the policies of liberalisation of international commerce. Empirical verification of the new forms of mobility with respect to WTO-OMC policies as well as in the large free trade areas that are either already in existence or in the process of being created such as the Euro-Mediterranean Region (MEDA), the North American Region (NAFTA-ALENA), the Asian Pacific Region (APEC), the South American Region (MERCOSUR), the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and others.

c. The differentiation in mobility flows which adjust themselves to the diverse economic, social, cultural and legislative requirements; these continually adapt the traditional mobility typologies and, to a large degree, reduce the effectiveness of national and international policies.

d. The tendency towards feminisation in mobility processes. Up to recently mobility has been constructed as a male dominated process in which women have played a purely secondary role, such as for example in the family reunification phase. In the last few years female migration flows have become recognised as historically more important, and new female dominated migration flows, such as the migration of domestic workers, have became evident. Moreover, mobility has come to be regarded often as a sharply gendered process. These issues present new problems for scientific analysis and managerial policy. Leisure and tourism are also undergoing a similar process. 


Theme 3 – The social, economic, environmental, cultural, and political implications arising from the new forms of mobility.

   The possible implications of changing mobility patterns will be examined, both in the regions of origin and in those of destination. These can be represented by the following categories:

a. Economic implications: Redistribution of spending patterns, reorganisation of investments, urban and regional restructuring measures in relation to the new forms of mobility.

b. Social implications. The new migrants are socially diverse, hence there are diverse social impacts (for example on the housing and labour market, and business development) and therefore varied social and economic requirements (for example for pensions and unemployment benefits) to cater to needs of different groups. This may require policy formation on issues of redistribution.

c. Political implications. The new forms of mobility present immense challenges to the evolving forms of international, national and regional/local governance at least at three levels: (i) the potential change in the electoral base and in cultural attitudes, generally within communities with a significant immigrant presence; (ii) the source for xenophobic attitudes; (iii) and the manipulation of human mobility as an instrument for exerting pressure on foreign policy.

d. Environmental implications. The contribution of mobility to the consumption of environmental resources in urban and rural areas such as for example air quality, water, land and the need for waste disposal.

e. Cultural implications. Mobility brings about cultural changes in the host countries and, at the same time, mobility is also motivated by ever increasing cultural demands. There are significant influences in the field of identity for both migrants and local populations. 


Theme 4 – Implications of new methodologies to the study of human mobility and policies to deal with new dimensions and patterns of mobility

   The application of new forecasting methods. The articulation of policies to deal with human mobility flows such as quota systems, welfare, housing and education policies, the management of directing migrants to specific locations, issues of segregating the newcomers from the established population, and so on.

   Due to its nature, theme 4 will be defined in the course of carrying out the project, following the first stage of activity. 

Table 1 - Organisation of the Study Group in sub-projects, supervisors of research themes and times for carrying out the various phases of the project.









Aug. 2000 -

Spring 2001

Spring 2001


Spring 2001 –

Jul 2002

Summer 2002




August 2002

Durban IGU 2002
Regional Conference 
South Africa


Oct. 2002-


Summer 2003




Autumn 2003




Summer 2004




August 2004

IGU Conference
Scotland (UK) 



Summer 2005



General objectives
Work programme and outcomes
Publications and meetings
Interaction with Research Bodies and Programmes Ustification